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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  September 2, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT

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>> they have lost money in a deal or transaction they get restitution. >> fairly often the firm already compensated them. but if they haven't we try to get restitution back. >> in 2014 over 1,100 put out of business or suspended. what were the typical sort of violations of those brokers? >> so let me give you some dimensions for the industry. so there are more than 4,000 brokerage firms registered with us and more than 630,000 individual brokers so this 1,100 refers to individual persons. so we see -- let me just say the vast majority of the brokers are trying to do the right thing for their customers. they are trying to help the customers achieve their financial goals. sometimes they don't. so we are trying to watch for instances where the broker is
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not doing the best that they can for their customer. so those instances often will be something where they may have recommended to the customer a security that is really not suitable for the customer's financial condition. or that they said something that wasn't accurate or was misleading about the security and trying to get the investor to put their assets into that product. >> when you are watching late night television at 2:00 in the morning you see investment products, might some of those be included in the brokers and things that you oversee? >> they might. so we have a pretty strict set of rules about how brokers advertise. the really, really bad products if you looked at them closely you would find they are not securities. the ones where they say guaranteed 10% return. brokers are not allowed to say there is a guaranteed return and not allowed to project the
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return. when i see these in a local newspaper i look closely and see it turns out it is not a prod t product. if brokers were to do this this would be a big problem for us. >> it's not illegal. in your industry it's illegal. >> that's right. there are other products that can be sold that aren't subject to the same restrictions. >> we have our conversation with bob colby of finra on the morning where the "usa today" morning has dow off to rotten start in september. does it change or accelerate the way bad brokers operate? >> so it more reveals how they have operated. so a good broker gives good
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advice to their customer and good advice typically in this uncertain world that we live in means that the products that they buy will be diversified. so what a sharp drop in the dow shows if a customer has sustained severe financial harm it usually means the broker didn't advise them away from a very concentrated position. so a diversified portfolio would be some stocks, some cash, some fixed income products. so there would be some losses but not catastrophic losses. >> we have calls waiting for bob colby from our viewers and radio listeners. let's go to new york, democrats line. steven, welcome. >> caller: good morning. can you hear me? >> i'm not hearing you. there we go.
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go ahead. >> caller: can you hear me? >> we can. go ahead. >> caller: my concern is the general health of the u.s. economy and the world economy. i'm thinking the government can't save us. right now u.s. gdp is $16 trillion. the world gdp is $62 trillion. wall street is currently trading 186 trillion in bad derivatives right now. when that bubble bursts sometime next year the world doesn't have the capital to recover from that collapse. the government needs to start telling our people the truth. obama is only praying that the collapse doesn't happen during his administration. that is all i have to say. >> bob colby, any thoughts? >> well, so it's a little bit outside of our zone, but i think that we have made a lot of progress in dealing with these
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derivative issues. the act gave banking regulators a lot of new tools to deal with derivatives. so the number that steven cites is i think an overall number but when you net it all down it's not as extreme as that. banks are required to have capital to offset those derivative positions. we have made a lot of progress since the '08 crisis in dealing with this derivatives. >> what about brokers who are not banks? >> brokers that are not banks do not have large derivatives positions because the way the sec net capital rules work they have a very sharp charge against derivatives positions. derivatives are not typically held in non-bank derivatives capital. >> peter in alaska. independents line. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i just have a question about the
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structure of finra. he said they are a nonprofit. does that mean the organization is an ngo? listening to him speak they obviously have a lot of power to go into offices. the people have to report to them. are they a subcontractor of the federal government? i had the impression ngos were more of a private organization. explain to me more of the structure and how they obtain the power that they have to do the things they are doing. >> peter, it's a great question. and i skimmed over the complexities of it. what happened was that congress in 1934 decided that they wanted to give the sec more support in
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overseeing this market. so they set up a structure by which an association like finra would register with the sec and be overseeing, extensively overseeing by the sec and they required all the securities firms and brokerage firms to register with finra. that gave quasi-governmental power to help enforce the rules. we are not a government agency but we exercise functions like a government agency but subject to the very careful supervision of the sec to make sure that we don't use that authority abusively. >> part of the reason we have you on is we saw the headline last week about charles schwab being fined $2 million by finra and finds the company had cash inflows that exceeded the amount that can invest with existing
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facilities. explain that a bit for us and would the sec also levee a fine in this case? >> so this is an sec rule that we were enforcing. this is an example of a situation where we're assisting the sec in making sure that brokerage firms are complying with rules. so typically our examination unit kwoecoordinates with the so we don't look at the same activity and don't bring fines on the same activity. sometimes we do where we look and say there is a finra rule aspect to this and an sec rule aspect and they want to apply the fine on the sec rule and we want to do it on the finra rule. typically we don't look at the same activity. this is a fairly complicated financial capital requirement that they violated. but the essence of it was that
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securities firms are required to keep their customer funds completely separate from their own. this was a situation where schwab didn't completely distinguish those customer funds. >> if that fine gets paid where does that go? >> it goes into finra but it goes -- it doesn't go into the general revenues of finra. for example, finra in addition to overseeing the brokerage firms it oversees trading in the securities markets. >> so 99% of the trading runs through computers that are run by finra. these computers were actually in the cloud but are massive. so we process 50 billion transactions a day. you mention that earlier because we are looking at every order that gets submitted in the stock markets. so these fines might go pay for the computers we are using to
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process. it doesn't go to pay for ordinary operating expenses. >> computers looking for anomalies? >> we are looking for manipulation or front running of customer orders or where they are not getting the best execution possible for the customers. so there's developed a lot of active trading in the markets and looking to see people that are trying to push the prices up and then let them fall again and then buy. >> here is rachel in south carolina. democrats line. >> caller: hello. >> good morning. >> caller: i watch you and c-span for the last 20 something years. i don't know if you can answer this question for me, but i have
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a 401 k in wal-mart and i am months trying to get that money so that i can stay in my house. i had to move out and move in a trailer simply because the people are not sending my own money. they send me a note saying that they are taking out almost $800. could you speak on little old ladies like me? and i will listen. god bless you sir. >> so i heard you say you have money in a 401 k with wal-mart? >> i think that's what she said. >> you are getting difficulty getting them to give you the amounts that you are owed. i'm very sorry to hear this. it must be a very frustrating for you. this is not our area of regulation, but what i think you
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should do is contact if it's wal-mart that you are trying to get the payment for, contact them and don't wait for an answer just from the initial contact. you should escalate it and contact higher and higher officials at wal-mart until you get to someone that takes your situation seriously and pays attention to you. >> we go next to virginia. lowell on the republican line. >> caller: good morning. i have a question about mutual fund cs. i know i get all of the information on the percentages and the rates and all of that. i was buwondering, is there a requirement or is it my prerogative that i can ask my mutual funds how much i actually paid in fees? can i get -- can i ask them to
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give me a fee statement per fund? i am very curious. a lot of people that have 401 ks and mutual funds would probably be astonished at how much it costs us in fees to maintain a mutual fund. i will take my answer off the air and thank you very much. >> well, you're absolutely right to be focused on the fees you pay because fees can reduce the return on an investment a remarkable amount particularly over years and years as they accumulate. so whether you can ask your particular mutual fund for an individual statement i don't know. typically they don't do that. but one place i would suggest you go is to finra's website where they have a mutual fund cost and fee calculator that is helpful in calculating the
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particular fees that you pay from particular mutual funds and see if that helps you. if not, i think you will have to work your way through the documents from the mutual fund. it's definitely worth your type. >> a couple of comments on twitter. a tweet asks has finra ever uncovered unusual options for the purpose of insider trader? >> we have units that watch options trading. we are monitoring across the market 65% of the options trading now. often times the insider trading is done by people that aren't securities firms themselves. it's sometimes people that are individual traders sometimes from other countries. so we fairly often find patterns that look anomalous. it looks like someone has individual non-public
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information and are trading ahead of it. when we get that information we refer it to the sec. we make 500 or more fully researched referrals to the sec each year. some of them have been very productive. there was a referral where it ended up the sec filmed somebody in a parking lot handing over information and receiving bags of money. we detected the background. gave them the tip and they followed up and brought a very important insider trading case. >> finra is monitoring a lot of trades. do you have active role in the operation of the market in terms of overseeing things or responding to things like the famous flash crash of a couple of years ago? >> so we don't operate markets ourselves. our predecessor organization established and built the nasdaq market but years and years ago that was set up as a separate exchange. we don't have a direct role in a
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market itself. we operate information reporting systems so we operate the trade reporting system that tracks every trading. we also operate transaction reporting system in the over-the-counter market. we watch the trading for all these and we join with the stock exchanges in putting on restrictions like the limit up and limit down restrictions that you are referring to. >> over-the-counter otc. >> it means it's an old phrase that meant that you would buy stocks from somebody across a counter like we have now. what it refers to now is stocks that aren't listed on an ex change but maybe actively traded by securities dealers. >> let's hear from fort lauderdale, florida. >> caller: i would like to make three very important points. number one, the small caps are
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being shorted. goldman sachs representative admitted on television that the minute any stock goes up 5% that they short it automatically with their high speed trading. now, number one, the shorting of a small cap techs and bio techs you have no idea how much blood, sweat and tears are put into these companies to try to make new discoveries in medicine and technology. and you have companies that short these stocks because they might be competitors. what happens is if a company like google which stole technology from a company and it is fact because they stick sticky notes and saying they did it when they return the material inadvertently. when they do something like that then all of a sudden the nasty stories on the street on this one and that one and all the
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little financial newspapers. you all have got to stop allowing these people, these corporations and other people these traders, hedge funds shorting these young companies that are coming public. this is where the jobs of tomorrow are. this is where the cures and the new technology is. it is not necessarily in the big pharmaceutic pharmaceuticals. and you have allowed this shorting to go on in a way that is just unbelievable. and, by the way, people aren't all jumping in at 2:00 in the afternoon and selling all of their stocks. these are hedge funds selling the indexes. they are controlling a gang of hedgefunds. one day they say it's china and the next day they say it's this or that and then change it the next day. you have got to do something to
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stop this crazy shorting that's going on in these markets. as a matter of fact, some countries don't allow any caps under $5 to be shorted. this is something that the sec doesn't care about these little companies that no one cares about them. and they struggle and end up failing because they have to borrow from toxic loans from hedgefunds because banks won't help them. no one helps them. >> a couple of points there. appreciate your call. we will hear from bob colby. >> so i agree with your view that these small companies are often the engine for our economy and they can be fragile when they are in a young stage. so the sec sets the short sale rules. they have gone back and forth on this. there was a short sale rule that they got rid of before the financial crisis but then they brought it back when there were sharp declines. our role is to watch carefully
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for whether people are reporting the shorts they do and whether they are complying with the short sale rules that the sec established. we brought some cases recently for people that failed to report their short sale activity which, of course, makes it difficult for us to enforce the rules. >> mentioned something that hedgefunds and selling off 2:00 in the afternoon everybody selling. do you know what she is getting at there in terms of hedgefund activity? >> it sounds like sarah has some particular trading pattern that she has observed that i'm not familiar with. >> would finra be in a position to observe those sorts of activities? >> yes. so as part of our market monitoring we have patterns that we have designed that try to look for anomalies in the trading to see if there is something either manipulative or abusive or somehow distorting the trading. if we see it we go and examine
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it. and either bring an action or refer it to the sec. >> let's hear from georgia. john on our republican line. good morning. john, make sure you mute your television or radio and go ahead with your comment. >> caller: i just have two brief questions. >> just mute that television, john. you are confusing yourself. go ahead with your question. >> caller: i have two brief questions. actually, a third one. the first one is on the republican line, would it be better -- first of all, why haven't the republican party ever supported social security? and then when you talk about hedge funds and the stock market, both of you gentlemen
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are roughly about my age or a few years younger. the japanese have came so far within like 45 or 50 years. if we were to use that model, could it work here? that's the second question. and the third question is that george bush was the president of the united states for eight years. most journalists usually back out on his question. he never even showed up at the republican national convention. i don't know if there is a sitting president who has ever done that. >> john, we are focusing on the financial markets. any thoughts there? >> i think john's understanding
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his -- >> what about new trading markets like the whole bit coin phenomenon? as a new market develops would finra be involved in monitoring those markets? >> so we work actually very closely with new exchanges. if you are going to be a new securities market you have to be a dealer or an exchange. exchanges register with the sec. there are some new ones in the process of trying to register. there is one called iex that was designed by the people who were heroes of the flash point book. we are talking to them about whether we can help support their oversight of their market. >> what do they want to trade? >> they want to trade listed stocks. they pleev they have a better design that will help people
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parade without the influence. i don't know if they have a better mouse trap or not we are happy to assist them in the oversight. >> chief legal council with finra. we go to vermont. >> caller: i have a question for mr. colby. actually, i was wondering what he thought about the repeal back in 2000 i think it was. i think the separation of investment and commercial banks is probably one of the biggest reasons why we are seeing this big turmoil in the markets because what is happening is s&p 500 u.s. companies half the sales are coming from overseas
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and our china markets, our asia markets. there is no way possible you can tell me the trillions of dollars -- we can't visualize that. money is digitized, digitalized, whatever, i can't say the word. we can't mentally see a picture of money anymore. it is basically in a computer. that is why i say metals going up and oils going down because they basically want to put fracking out of business in the u.s. and they want us to be basically controlled by the middle east arab oil. i think glass-steagall needs to come back. i think president clinton did a disfavor by enacting the modernization act in december of
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2000, his last month in office there. >> thank you. we'll hear from bob colby. tell us what glass-steagall did. >> glass-steagall was requiring commercial banking from securities brokerage so to keep those two activities complete l separate and said those could be conducted by those owned by the same holding. it allowed recombination of investment banking and commercial banking. and so i don't feel as strongly about this as you do because i observed a lot of recombination had taken place already before it was adopted.
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what i think is critical is that once you allow these activities be recombined that there be complete and adequate supervision of the activities so nothing falls in the cracks. what we have now is both banking agencies and the securities exchange commission and finra overseeing different parts of this activity so we are trying to work very hard. we have been in close cooperation with the sec for many years. we are also trying to build lines of cooperation with bank regulators so we make sure nothing falls between the cracks and make sure we are not duplicating efforts and overseeing the activities. >> a piece in the hill writes about a couple of george mason
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university professors writing about a study they are doing on finra's data collection. this is finra's holiday cards. this is a title of the opinion piece. they write that few americans have heard of the financial industry regulatory authority but the securities regulator is about to become familiar with all americans' investment portfolios recently proposed the comprehensive automated risk data system known by cards in the same of investor protection and investor confidence and finra plans to monitor all securities accounts and transactions they say investors should run from this kind of protection. tell us a little bit more about finra's plans and what is your response to their concerns? >> so trying to oversee the brokers are treating customers. we are a data driven organization. we try to pull data together to
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try to figure out where to focus our efforts. so the cards idea was to try to get better and more complete data. our timing wasn't terrific on this. when we started floating the idea the idea of having consolidated data seemed like the most efficient way to do it. we were overtaken by some of the terrible security breaches, people saw their data being stolen from different entities. so we have basically shelved that idea for now until we can be confident that if we collect the data that we can protect it and people's identities won't be threatened. >> one more call, charles on our democrats line. >> caller: hi. good morning. my question. i don't know if i'm off the page
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of what is on television and what they are talking about right now, but i want to know after 35 years why are the goods that they make in china come over here tax free but yet they tax us for the goods we send to china? why is that still going on? >> is that in your area of purview? >> i might have personal views on this but i don't have any professional insights into this so i don't think i have anything to add. >> finra in terms of foreign markets, does finra monitor foreign trades and exchanges? >> we don't. our role in foreign trading is to monitor what foreign people may be doing in our markets. we try to support foreign regulators when they think there is a problem in their markets that started here but we don't oversee foreign markets. >> are you overseeing
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commodities market? >> bob colby here for finra. you can find out more. find out more at thanks for being with us this morning. more "washington journal" ahead. we will talk about the so-called cadillac tax set to kick in under the affordable care act. we will speak with julie appleby. 2018 is when the cadillac tax is set to kick in and for the first time tax employers may receive a tax break that may kick in. later on we will find out how voters really choose their president. that's the question that christian science monitor answers on their august 3rd cover story. more "washington journal" ahead. >> the c-span cities tour,
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working with our cable affiliates to visit cities across the country. this >> the c-span cities tour, this weekend we are joined by charter communications to learn more about the life of grand junction, colorado. the mining of a certain mineral. >> all over the colorado plateau and here in mesa county we are surrounded by morrison rock. within the morrison we find a lot of dinosaur bones and fossils. that has intrigued scientists for a long time. the other thing we also find is a mineral, a rock. it contains radium which is radioactive and was used to help solve and fight cancer. it also contains vinade yn used to strengthen steel. during the buildup to world war
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ii and during world war ii it was of extreme value. and it also contains uranium. uranium is one of the best sources for atomic power and atomic weapons. >> colorado congressman was largely responsible for this area's agricultural development through his wonder legislation. >> he fought the battle to reserve water for the western colorado by making sure that we got our fair share. how did he do that? well, beginning in his state career and then going on to his federal career he climbed up the ladder of seniority and was able to exercise. i think more power than you might normally have. certainly in the united states congress where he was able to make sure colorado and western colorado would be treated fairly in any divisions of water.
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his first major success was the passage of the colorado river storage project in 1956. >> see all of our programs from grand junction saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 2's book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span 3. washington journal continues. >> joining us is julie appleby. senior correspondent for kaiser health news to talk about the affordable care act in particular the so-called cadillac tax that is set to kick in in 2018. julie, appleby tell us the difference between kiezing health news and health organization. >> we are not part of kaiser permanent a.
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we write about health care policy and give away to media organizations. >> this story is starting to come into the news because congress returns next week and there is talk about congress may do something about this impending tax. tell us what would this tax do? why was it part of the affordable care act? >> it is called the cadillac tax because it aims at expensive health plans that have generous benefits. it works that under the provision it will be a 40% excise tax on health benefits that cost more than $10,200 a year for an individual worker. remember this is only on job-based insurance. stuff you get through your job. for example, if you have an employer offering family plan that costs $30,000 a year the tax on that plan starting in 2018 would be $1,000 which is the 40% above the amount of that
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threshold of 27,500. that sounds like a lot of money. to put into perspective it is. the average cost of a family health plan offered is about $17,000 a year. so the threshold is higher. some plans do cost more. >> the kaiser family foundation put out a report on how that is going to effect employees and employers looking at the chart of the percent of employers who offer health benefits with plans that exceed the limit with 5% premium growth. 2018 they expect 20%, 26% of employers would exceed that limit. by 2023, 30%. by 2028, 42%. what does that mean in the long run for the longevity of employer-provided health care? >> it depends. congress gave employers about eight years that knew this was
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coming. didn't kick in until 2018. it gave time to try to adjust their policies. and the way they do that is different. remember, most employers still offer plans that don't hit the thresho threshold. if they do there are ways to try to reduce the cost. one way to do that is to raise deductibles. generally that lowers the premium. that has been going on even before this law. that has been a trend. employers have been shifting. that is one thing employers can do. the other thing is this is not just based on the cost of the health insurance benefit. a lot of employers offer things like flexible spending accounts that you put pretax dollars in and go buy glasses and use the money for things not covered by insurance. flexible spending accounts could be affected. health savings accounts where the employer and worker may put money in towards covering
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deductibles. all of this added together are what reach the total. so some folks say that employers will ratchet back benefits. >> is it possible that those benefits go away but the bottom line on one's paycheck would get higher? >> economists say money spent on your benefits is money you are not getting in your wages. in theory wages would increase if benefits are decreased. however, that is not always how it works out. it will have to see what happens. if somebody has a $3,000 deductible that they didn't have before, will they see increase in their wages? we don't know. it's not clear yet. >> we brought listeners and viewers into the conversation. we are breaking up the phone line a little bit on the conversation and the affordable care act. if you are enrolled use
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202-748-8000. if you are enrolled in private insurance program 202-748-8001 and for all others 202-748-8002. a headline says cadillac tax, a portion of obamacare both parties hate. unions and employers are on board with repealing the cadillac tax. how likely is that to happen? >> there are a couple bills pending. the house and the senate have bills pending talking about putting in a repeal of the tax. passage naut assured. there are a lot of people opposed to this tax on both sides of the aisle. democrats and republicans have concerns about this tax. the democrats and republicans have different reasons for returns. many labor unions have said that
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they have negotiated lower wages in exchange for better benefits. worried about the benefits may be ratcheted back without increase in wages. the democrats would like to make them happy at the same time one of the reasons congress put this in a law as a revenue raise er. where is the $87 billion over a decade that it was expected to raise? >> right now there is no tax on it so that $87 billion just would begin. >> it's coming. they have to find a pay for it. for the republicans it is a little more problematic because many republicans want to repeal the entire affordable care act. so the question is, then, do you repeal one piece of it and would that then weaken the momentum towards repealing the entire thing. >> headline in washington post 26% of employers could face
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cadillac tax. calls for julie appleby. >> caller: good morning. my question is i'm on social security disability. i am qualified for -- i do have medicare. i'm paying roughly $100 a month for that. i have private insurance from my wife's employer. my question is why doesn't the rates and premiums for your private insurance go down once you have medicare? it seems to me that if medicare covers approximately 80% of the bill the private insurance company is getting the leftovers, why doesn't the premium go down in cost? >> that's a very good question. i think the answer depends on whether your medicare is primary or secondary.
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i don't know in your situation. generally rates are set in a regional area based on the cost in that area, the labor costs, the negotiations that they have made with the hospitals and doctors in that system and to some extent based on the age of the person who is enrolling. under the affordable care act they can no longer charge you more if you have a previous health condition, that type of thing. they can only base it on your age and a couple of other factors. without knowing the details i can't give you an exact answer. >> in maryland also with private insurance is olaf. >> caller: just in reference to the tax and you will see a [ inaudible ] that is probably never going to happen.
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so we are cutting someone somehow health care costs. we will put that back into a bundle. my main question for you is around the fact that if someone decides to buy [ inaudible ] and they can afford it, what would be the logic? >> this is just for job-based insurance. it's what your employer offers you. and economists and others say the reason that they want to look at high cost plans is because they feel that it encourages wasteful spending. if you have a plan with bells and whistles that covers all kinds of things with very little cost sharing on the workers' part you may be low deductibles, it encourages more u.s. of the
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health care system in their minds. in theory this would slow rising health care costs if the plans were less generous and people had to spend more of their own money for health care in theory this gets people to think twice about whether they need something and that might slow health care spending. that is one of the reasons why this was put in the law. this just effects job-based insurance. it does not effect policies sold through the federal and state market places to people who buy their own insurance. >> you said it is going to effect people who have health spending accounts, hsas or fsas whatever they are called. it doesn't kick in until 2018. could there be an issue with people planning for next year with people deciding in advance that they don't want to put money in there because it is money they get taxed on in 2018. >> remember, the tax on this is only on the insurer or the employer. it is not directly on you the
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worker. what you might see happening is maybe employers will say our health plan is close to this limit right now. if people put money in an fsa that can bump us over. right now you are allowed to put in up to $2,500 in a flexible spending attack and then you can use that money for certain medical-related expenses pretax. a little bit of discount. >> does that include what the company would provide? >> it could in like a health savings account. sometimes employers pop in to help pay deductible. what some may be doing now is looking ahead and saying maybe we better ratchet back some of those things. >> a call from florida. david also with private insurance. >> good morning. my first question is why aren't they indexing that dollar amount
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for the cadillac tax? the second is there is only so much room to inkrecrease deductibles. it says you can't put your deductible past 6,000 and change for out of pocket and deductible can only go up so much. at some point we run out of room. it is limited to pull to offset the cadillac tax in the coming years. i would just be curious why aren't they indexing this and what happens when we run out of options? >> thanks. that is one of the concerns. that is why you see like the kaiser family foundation that overtime this tax will hit more and more plans offered because the indexing will grow more slowly than the cost of the
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plans and the cost of medical inflation in general and because there is only so much you can do to slow premium growth. this is one of the things you can do but it's only one of them and can only go so far. folks are running into more difficulty with some of the high deductibles as david mentioned. the out of pocket max, the amount you can pay for an individual plan is $6,600 a year for an individual and closer to $13,000 for a family which is a lot of money. >> reflecting on what david said as obamacare employers raise deductibles they write it is created as part of the affordable care act as a way to help fund subsidized benefits. in 2018 employers pay 20% tax on costs with health plans and 27,500 for family coverage and nearly half of u.s. employers
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have at least one health plan they offer to workers that is considered a cadillac plan that will trigger the special tax if the impacted companies don't find a way to curve the health care costs. the president and ceo said the only way to minimize or delay the cadillac tax is to slow the growth of the total premium. what is the status of the premium since the affordable care act was passed. >> so premium growth in the employer market has been fairly slow over the last few years. it has gone up more slowly than historically. some people like to take credit for that with the affordable care act and some say it hasn't made much of a difference. a lot of factors have gone into that, one of which is the economy. people aren't spending as much on health care. the growth has been fairly slow. on the other markets where folks buy their own coverage through
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federal and state exchanges that has always been a volatile market. when you buy your own insurance year by year rates go all kinds of different ways. we have seen an average of 8% increase for coverage this year. we are seeing numbers come in for next year's rates and it varies state by state and varies within the state. i saw figures the other day, california on average said that they had a 4% increase for next year which is fairly low historically. florida said 9.5%. historically it has varied and it will vary within states and within plans. what many experts say if you have a plan you are behind on individual market and you like it you should see what it will cost when the rates come out later this fall. it may go up. it may not. there may be other plans that are less expensive. the message is shop around because it could be different. >> this is typically the
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shopping season for health care but you get your option to change your plan. >> many do open enrollment in the fall. that is coming up. the market places own insurance going to open in november. people will be able to start shopping and looking and seeing what their costs are going to be. they need to pick a plan before the end of january. >> we're focussing on the cadillac task. 202-748-8000 if you are enrolled in the affordable care act. 202-748-8001 if you have private insurance and for all others, 202-748-8002. carol is enrolled in obamacare. >> caller: yes, my husband and i have humana, and since the beginning of the year, it has not paid anything -- it doesn't pay anything hardly. it pays little or nothing on prescription.
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pays absolutely nothing on other medical. and i was just wondering if this is because of obamacare? i called our representative here in north carolina, and she sent me a bunch of forms to fill out. they want to take a look at your particular situation. and when you question what's going on, they say, well, you signed up for this plan. like we're going to sit here and read about a half an inch book on humana in order to know all of the little things that they're not going to pay or the fact that they just are paying nothing, which they paid very little before the obamacare. now they pay practically nothing. it's just a waste of taxpayers' money that they're paying humana
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this money every month for us when we get no advantage whatsoever. so like come november, we're going to be shopping around to find something different. so i was just wondering if she could explain what's going on here with this. >> thank you, carol. >> thanks for the call. >> i think what carol is talking about is that many of these plans have deductibles that you have to meet before coverage kicks in. this has been one of the criticisms, not only of plans sold on the individual market but employer plans. people have to shell out 1,000, 2,000, $3,000, $4,000 before their main coverage kicks in. and, carol is exactly right in saying she's going to shop around this time. and she can look on the website or state website, talk to an insurance broker and try to get a side by side comparison of various plans. what the health care law did do
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is broke plans into bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels so that you can a little more easily compare different insurance companies side by side that are going to have similar ben gefit benefits. you really need to look not only at the premium amount, but how much do you have to pay each year before your deductible is met. what's covered outside the deductible? do you get a couple of different doctor visits? do you get anything? what do you get before you have to pay that full deductible. and that's something all the policy experts and folks who help people navigate the system say. you really need to shop ornd during open enrollment and not only look at the premium cost, but what are the deductibles. >> here's some of what people are saying on twitter. a tweet from jeff. whether direct or indirect tax, the employee is still going to be negatively affected. lisa says the cadillac tax is nothing more than a way to reduce health care.
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if one wants premium health care coverage, they should be able to have it. and why not just cap the amount of employer provided benefits that are tax exempt rather than create a separate tax rate? >> this is what this does attempt to do. this is a big deal because it's the first time job-based benefits have been taxed. you get through your job are not subject to income and payroll taxes. and economists say this encourages employees to offer more generous benefits than they otherwise would. it also encourages employers to offer benefits because it's a write-off for them to offer these benefits. it's not a cost for them in a lot of ways. so the question is, if you tax these benefits, what's going to happen to employer-based coverage? a number of economists and republicans and proposals have said we do -- they want to do something about the tax status of insurance because it is the single largest tax exclusion in the federal budget. it costs the u.s. treasury
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billions of dollars a year. there have been proposals to cap in some way the tax nature of health benefits. >> prior to this cadillac tax kicking in, what's the biggest way, what's the biggest revenue driver for the affordable care act? where is the money coming from now? >> there's a lot of different taxed and fees in the health care law. they ratchet back the rate of growth of medicare plans. certain medicare advantage plans to get them to be more in line with what we pay for traditional medicare. that was one big way. some taxes on insurers, tax oz tanning beds, a number of different things. this is one of them. it's $87 billion, which is a lot of money. but it's just one of a number of different ways they're bringing in revenue to pay for the costs of health care law including the subsidies that go to folks who buy their own insurance. >> to chicago next and bruce who has private insurance. hello, bruce. >> caller: hi. how are you doing? >> doing fine. >> caller: i think this whole
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issue would be kind of more clear to people if they understood this is simply social engineering and what we're going to do is going to take revenue from people who are responsible and take care of themselves and take care of people who are irresponsible. and you have to come to the point where you finally say the social engineering and the actuary tables are the two things that generate this thing. on a lighter note, julie, i enjoyed your statement when you said before the government taxes the cadillac tax to discourage wasteful spending. i don't think they'd be qualified to discourage wasteful spending. >> okay, bruce. any comment there? >> he's talking a lot about how the rates are set and that type of thing. it's based a lot on the experience of the group. look at the employer. they look at their -- the demographics of their workforce and the rates are set in various different ways.
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>> here's green bay. green bay, wisconsin. good morning. >> caller: good morning. julie talked earlier about the plan to discourage use of the health care by people on cadillac plans. has anything been done about people on public assistance, people on programs who essentially pay nothing? what effect -- or what efforts were made or have been made to discourage their usage of the health care system and that wasteful spending? >> we're looking at job-based spending here. many employer plans, for example, have instituted large copays for using emergency rooms or larger than they used to. that's one way to diskorge folks from using emergency rooms when they don't need to. there's been some teammates to efforts to do that. but that is one effort going forward that folks are looking at in terms of what are the various ways we can reduce spending in health care? and the reason they are looking at these very expensive,
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generous benefit plans is the thought that people overuse health care if they are fully covered for something. that's why this particular cadillac tax looking at job-based insurances, looking at these more expensive plans. these plans aren't always more expensive because they have a lot of bells and whistles. perhaps the workforce they are covering is older and sicker or a high risk occupation. there's some adjustments for that if you have a lot of over 55 retirees, for example. an adjustment in the threshold for this cadillac tax. in a high-risk profession. so that's the kind of thing that might be looked at going forward if congress does attempt to make some tweaks or changes to this particular tax. >> next up, we go to joe in annapolis. also who buys private insurance. good morning. >> good morning. thanks for this program. i recall another program c-span had on the affordable care act, and the comments were of two
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flavors. some called in and said it was the greatest thing in the world. they were able to quit their job because they hated their job. they had to pay so much for insurance and now have insurance and it's wonderful. and other people said they didn't like paying for other people's insurance. i'm one of those people. not only do we have to pay for other people's insurance, there is another tax that is little spoken of and perhaps little known that is a tax that affects people in certain tax categories on their capital gains. and so i think what's going to happen, in my personal case is that the taxes are going to be so onerous that i'm going to -- it's not going to be worth to get a few extra dollars on the margin that the government is going to tax it. and what -- when i see -- i'm not sure if the kaiser foundation is left leaning or right leaning. maybe your guest will comment on that. it seems president obama and the democrats that enacted this legislation are basically
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punishing the employer and employee combination that's agreed to have what they call wasteful spending, which is really health care. so here's the contrast. somebody wants a lot of health care and they want to pay for it with their own labor and obama is punishing that all the while taking machie inine ining money and giving it to people who don't or can't work and illittle illegal immigrants. the obama administration was not checking the citizenship status of applicants for obamacare on the website. and although obama said this type of insurance wourld not go to illegal immigrants it is going to illegal immigrants. i hope your guest will address that issue. >> joe made a lot of points there. first of all, i work for the news organization. so we are neither right or left leaning. we are a news organization. secondly, citizenship status is
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checked when people are signing to get subsidies under the health care law. you have to be aye citizen for the most part. money does not go to undocumented immigrants under this. there are winners and losers with this law. the winners tend to be folks who under the old system couldn't get coverage for one reason or another or were lower income and couldn't afford it. maybe they had a health condition and couldn't get coverage. they are getting subsidies in many cases. about 80% of folks are getting some kind of government help, some kind of subsidy to help them purchase. they are happier. folks less happy are folks perhaps like joe who purchased insurance and maybe has seen an increase in their rates because insurers are covering more people who weren't covered before, perhaps at higher costs. folks who might have had a lower cost plan because they had a really big deductible or younger and healthier may have seen the
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rates go up. there are winners and losers and tradeoffs in terms of the law. we'll keep hearing about these kinds of concerns. >> politico writes about some of the political fallout from this proposal. looming cadillac tax in 2018. cadillac tax could wreck popular medical account. they are talking about the fsas. they could go away quickly. that could dramatically alter the political equation surronding obamacare blooindsidg middle class voters. they write already it's become an issue in the democratic presidential primaries with bernie sanders promising to junk the tax and hillary clinton saying she's open to changes. if a nevada senator says obamacare continues to overpromise and underdeliver. he's working on legislation to
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address the issue. this is the devastation to the americans relying on fsas. tell us about the potential for repeal, at least this go round of the 114th congress, what remains of it. >> a couple of bills pending. discussion about we've got to repeal this cadillac tax. it runs up against a couple of factors. will congress address any of these issues? the republicans want to repeal the entire law, most of them. many of them say this. if they pull out one piece of it, what will happen to that momentum? what we're hearing, some proposals from the candidates about repealing and replacing. let's repeal the law. replacing it is more difficult. you have to come up with some proposals. both governor walker and senator rubo introduced proposals that
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are replacement proposals. walker has produced more details so i'll chat more about walker's proposal. they would replace the health care law with tax credits to purchase health insurance. they'd allow people to buy insurance across state lines. increase the amount people can put in health savings accounts. and both are concerned there's too many regulations and rules and structure in the affordable care act. they'd remove some of the rules governing insurers now. as far as buying coverage, walker's plan would give these tax credits to people who buy their own coverage. unlike the current law which subsidies are based on income, these would be based on age. a flat amount. children would get about $900. older adults get up to $3,000 as a tax credit to help them purchase insurance. based on age, not income. so somebody who is a self-employed millionaire would get the same amount as somebody
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who is a part-time clerk. they'd use that to purchase coverage. those amounts are less than what insurance costs and generally less than the subsidies available now but another way to get people who buy their own insurance some health and purchasing coverage. they've rolled out a couple of these plans. we're going to hear more about them in the coming weeks. >> what's the average subsidy under the affordable care act? >> around $3100 a year. >> here's fran on the affordable care act in jacksonville, florida. good morning. >> caller: good morning. yes, i would like to say there are pros and cons in anything. and it includes the affordable care act. i worked for five years without insurance. i was displaced on my job and couldn't afford -- i had a pre-existing condition. i'm diabetic. i paid out of pocket to see my doctor and had my regular checkups and paid for my regular
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medications and mammograms. last year i enrolled in the affordable care act. my coverage started on march 1st. and then in may, i was diagnosed with breast cancer. i guess you know the affordable care act saved my life. i got a $328 subsidy. and i paid like $329 a month. and it was a good plan. i had $1300 deductible. it was called a gold plan, and that was good. but this year, of course, i wanted to -- i wanted to keep that, but then i got a memo that that plan had been retired and they showed me what they options were. and there weren't many options here in florida because our governor is not -- he's not into the affordable care act. so i did go on the exchange. i stayed with florida blue. but the only plan that suited me
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was a platinum plan. i had to go from a gold to a platinum. then it's costing me $529 instead of $329 that i was paying last year. but i had to take it because i need insurance and i -- well, fortunately, in january, i'll be 65, so i'm transitioning to medicare. but i had to bite the bullet, sacrifice. i'm paying that $529 a month. the real problem to me with the affordable care act is the cost of the insurance itself. regardless of whether you are getting a subsidy or not. the insurance company is getting their money. the money that they are getting is the money that i would have paid with my -- the company that i was displaced with.
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their insurance was like $897 for me to be in their plan, which is something i definitely could not have paid. and that is still the cost of the insurance now. it's just a matter of the subsidy of the $328 taking some of that off of me so that i can squeak by and pay for insurance. so something needs to be done about the actual cost of insurance. >> thanks for sharing your stories. >> fran hits it right on the has. that's one of the biggest challenges facing this is controlling costs. it's getting more and more expensive. costs are going up. folks like fran are facing increased premiums and higher deductibles. she shopped around. she got coverage. even people who get subsidies
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are just part of the cost of coverage. folks who get subsidies are still expected to pay between 2% and 9.5% of their income depending on their income ranges toward the cost of coverage. it's very expensive. >> next up is advancent in the affordable care act. taco tacoma, washington. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. the previous caller pointed out exactly what is wrong with our health care in america is the insurance companies. and also the states that didn't make the affordable care act part of their solution to health care. those governors who totally resisted buying into the system is causing havoc for those people similar to fran with pre-existing conditions because the insurance companies are
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playing games where, as she said, she had a lesser plan that met her needs. now those plans are not available in those states that the governors have resisted. and i think the affordable care act is doing a great job. it's keeping all of these people that are not in any type of health care from going to the most expensive health care, which is the emergency room. at least you can go to a doctor using an insurance plan. so those are really, fran pointed out, the real problem with health care in america. >> since obamacare kicked in, what's the total enrollment now? >> between 10 million and 11 million signed up to buy their own insurance through the exchanges. yesterday the cdc came out with
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new numbers on the uninsured. that number is down to 9.2% in the first quarter of this year. that's don from 11% last year and down from 16% right when the health care law began. vincent made a couple of points. the health care law does prevent from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions. that's a change. that's one of the rules the law set into place for insurers. >> she did have to raise up to a platinum plan. >> we don't know exactly the reasons. maybe her doctors were in that plan. she may have been able to stick with her plan but didn't like some of the changes. she could switch to another plan whereas before she might have had difficulty changing plans at all because insurers may not have taken her at all. he's talking about medicaid.
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the health care law expanded medicaid which is the federal/state program for low-income folks to more people. basically to childless adults in most states. the states were given the option of whether they wanted to expand. we have 29 states and the district of columbia that have expanded medicaid. for folks on the lower end of the scale, they can get into medicaid. they are still not able to in states that haven't expanded medicaid. that's what vincent was talking about. >> one state's experience is front page of the "boston globe." health care costs jump, a setback for massachusetts. it drove health care spending in massachusetts up 4.8% last year. double the rate of growth in 2013 dealing a setback to contain medical costs. a couple more calls. we go to henderson, kentucky and good morning to bob. >> caller: good morning.
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thanks for taking my call. first of all, i'm for everyone having insurance, regardless whether it's a national health plan or whatever it is. i'm for everyone having insurance. i'm 71 years old. my wife is 67. we are on medicare and medicare advantage. and these insurance companies are not always truthful with you because my wife, when she turned 65, she started calling around because we were paying $577 a month for her insurance up until then. every insurance company would give you a different price on this medicare advantage. and finally she got one lady that was truthful with her and the lowest she got was like 270-something a month for medicare advantage. this lady let her have it for $28 a month. i was going to change to it, but
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i could not believe it. and i was expecting her to get a bill the next month for an enormous amount. so i didn't take it and passed that sign-up thing. but it worked for her and then the following year, i got on. we're paying $77 a month. we pay copays for about everything we do. you go to the emergency room, it's a $65 copay. you get some procedure done, there's a copay on it. but you know, that is better than having to pay an enormous amount each month that these insurance companies are not truthful with you. they are always out to get you. you have to hope and pray that you run upon an honest agent. >> the type of plan bob has, is that typically available? >> medicare advantage is available across the country. these are the private insurers. you sign up.
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there's generally a network of hospitals and doctors you gan to, unlike traditional medicare. you stay within the network. you pay a copay when you go. with medicare you may pay a percentage of the cost. these are called medicare advantage and their premiums do range. some parts of the country there's zero or very low and other parts of the country it's more expensive. health care is local. negotiating with the doctors and hospitals is local. they set their rates based on some of the local experiences. they found a plan for $77 a month. >> here's jim in franklin, pennsylvania. >> caller: good morning. i love your show. ms. pelosi said you have to read the plan to understand what's in the plan before you vote on the plan, am i correct? >> something to that effect. >> caller: that's typical democrat. what kills me about this plan, i
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like the gentleman from maryland. i'm 61. i've worked my butt off. never been unemployed one day. and paying for other people who won't work, ain't going to work and never going to work. but they've got air jordan tennis shoes and drive brand new cars. that's the disturbing part. it's across to insurance -- i can go to alabama and buy my insurance. the politicians and insurance companies are in bed with each other. and that's the bottom line. i'll take your comments. thank you for your time. >> any final thoughts. >> he mentioned going across state lines to buy insurance. that's a common discussion in congress. buy insurance in other states. we're going to hear bhomore abo this coming up. the idea is that you might get more choice if you allowed insurers to sell in a whole bunch of different states and you could find a lower priced plan in another state and buy it there. the difficulty is let's say you
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live in new york and want to buy a plan in alabama, but has that alabama insurer been able to create a network of doctors in new york? that's one that hasn't been able to be accomplished. we'll hear more from folks like him. >> julie appleby from kaiser health news. you can follow her reporting at khn news on twitter and online at next up here on "washington journal," our spotlight on magazine series we do every week. this time we turn to politics. we'll look at how people vote. we'll discuss the august 3rd cover story from the "christian science monitor" and how do voters choose their presidential candidate. we'll be right back.
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with the sudden death of president hard, vice president calvin coolidge takes af. grace coolidge was an enormously popular first lady and influenced the taste of american women by becoming a style icon. although she married a man named silent cal, she never spoke to public. this weekend on c-span's original series "first ladies, influence and image." examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady and their influence on the presidency from martha washington to michelle obama on american history tv on c-span3. this sunday night on q&a, stafford law school professor draeb rodey talks about her book "the trouble with lawyers" which
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looks at the legal profession in the united states. the high cost of law schools and lack of diversity in the profession. >> i think we need a different model of legal education. it includes one year programs for people doing routine work, two-year programs as an option for people who want to do something specialized in the third year and three full years for people who want the full general practice legal education that we now have. but it's crazy to train in the same way somebody who is doing routine divorces in a small town in the midwest and somebody who is doing mergers and acquisitions on wall street. we have this one size fits all model of legal education that's extremely expensive. the average debt level is $100,000. and that assumes that you can train everybody to do everything in the same way.
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i'm licensed to practice in two states, and i wouldn't trust myself to do a routine divorce. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. "washington journal" continues. >> every wednesday on "washington journal," we bring you our spotlight on magazine series. this time the spotlight on presidential politics. peter grier is a senior writer with the "christian science monitor" and the author of their cover story, how do voters really decide. peter, what prompted you to look at how voters decide now, well ahead of next year's election? >> i started with a simple question. i was just thinking to myself, how much do the presidential candidates actually matter? the press covers the election like it's a giant reality show in which it's a struggle between
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dramatic personalities. is that the real story, or is it the other point of view which it's something determined by fundamentals. it's much more about the economy and things like that. and the candidates are just really ants on a floating stick who think they are steering. that was the framework i began with. >> how did you clear away the things we normally think about. you mentioned the media covering it like a reality show. the daily if not weekly, if not daily polls that are up and down. how did you clear away that influence and focus in on what voters choose based on. >> take a political scientist viewpoint of what the election is about. i looked at a lot of folks and articles written by people who study this for living it as academics. they have very different view of
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what elections are about and how voters vote and why they vote than reporters do, which i found fascinating. >> in the end, what was your conclusion? is there one thing that makes voters choose the candidate they choose? >> i'd say my takeaway was three points about the election that i think are quite probably true, though we don't really know for sure. one of them is that there aren't asindependents as you think there are. many of them are people who like to say they're independent but they're really not. the second point is that the parties all come together in the end. if you are a republican, you'll vote for the republican. if you are a democrat, you'll vote for the democrat. that sounds simple, but it makes sense if you put that together with the fact there aren't many independents. and all the gaffes that reporters love to focus on, me included, don't really matter
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that much. if you put those three things together, what you get is an election that's much more stable as it goes. than this sort of daily up and down that voters talk about. >> people that go in the booth get more serious about their choice? >> they are always serious about the choice. that's the thing. think about how you make your own choice about who to vote for. it's something you probably have a general notion about early on, and it firms up as you get close to election day. most people don't really switch back and forth between maybe it will be one or maybe it will be another. they don't pay much attention to politics. so it's much more in the background sort of stable choice as november approaches. >> back to your point about independents. what is the number of people who say they are independents but many of those are -- most of the time vote democrat or most of
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the time vote republican. what's that number that are truly independent and would vote either party or both parties depending on the election? >> that's a good question. i worry about this with c-span. when i say there are fewer independents than people think, all the independents in america are probably watching c-span. i'm going to hear a lot about this. but the basic breakdown is about one-third of america is republican. about one-third is democratic. about one-third says that it's independent. if you push those people who say they're independent, about one-third of them are really closet republicans. one-third of them are closet democrats. and one-third are truly independent. you end upp, that's about 10% o the electorate. but most of them don't vote. they aren't fighting over a big pool of swayable voters. the candidates are speaking to their own partisans.
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>> 202-748-8002 this morning for independent voters. democrats, 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. let's go to the republican line. becky from lancaster, ohio. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. and thank you for c-span. i just -- i'm really having a quandary. i'm an older very conservative woman. and i am having a quandary in who to vote for for the republicans. i just got a robocall from dr. ben carson. i'm looking seriously at him, but one of the factors, i want to know who the candidate is going to get around them. who will be their advisers? who will counsel them? that and number two, i'm looking for an honest man of integrity, a christian man.
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and that's what i'm -- that's what i'm going to be looking for in the coming months. >> well, it sounds like you are a very thoughtful voter. that's what america needs. your point about the advisers that they'll gather around them is an excellent one. that's something that voters don't pay a lot of attention to. you don't get a lot of information about it really. but it really shapes a lot of what the presidency is. if you want to look at that kind of thing. the primary is much more of a scrum and it's hard to tell the people apart sometimes. if you can get an idea of who they have around them, that's an important indicator of where they might go. >> she talked about the advisers. you write about political insiders and political infighting. you'll see lots of stories in coming months about democrats and our republicans being
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internally divided because of one kont rowtemp or another. they are dividing the gop and vermont senator bernie sanders is more appealing to liberals than mrs. clinton. in the end, this stuff will have little effect on how partisans vote. how did you find that out? >> that's what all the exit surveys and all the polls show in the end. there's a longstanding academic survey of voters that looks about how people vote over time. increasingly, 90% of republicans will vote for the republican party. they won't say, oh, you know, i'm upset about the turn in immigration so i'll vote for democrats. in the end they'll swallow their objections and vote for the party they're part of. >> we're talking about how
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voters really decide. peter grier is our guest. how do you decide? 748-8002 for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans. >> caller: really enjoy your show. thanks for having me on. i agree with that people decide on who they're going to vote for early on. my family is democrats because my parents are and i think like as time has gone on, as i've gotten older as a voter, it's become more clear to me that democrat and republican are more closely aligned than anyone really realizes. like one is far right. one is moderate right and the parties really differ on a few issues like public issues like apo
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aborti abortion, health care and immigration but if you look at war, defense spending, the economy, et cetera, they are very closely aligned. i was wondering if you could speak more to that. >> peter grier? >> that's an interesting point the viewer makes. i have two things i'd like to say about that. one is it really does matter which party controls america. they do have different agendas and they do different things. if i republican had won the oval office in 2008, we wouldn't have the affordable care act, which you just spent a great period of time discussing. so that's one aspect of it. the second is that it's true historically defense is a less polarized issue in america. there's been much more of a consensus about how to handle america's role in the world and the level of defense spending since world war ii. that breaks down in periods of time, and right now we may be in
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one of those periods of time. generally speak, it's just a less partisan. >> jim is in michigan. we're talking about how you decide to vote. jim on our democrats line. go ahead. >> caller: yes, thank you for taking my call. i will say i called on the democrats line because i lean more democratic. in the past i was formerly a republican. but what i was calling about is one of the things we've seen in our area of the country is we have a large farming community. as a result, everybody says, well, i'm a republican. and they don't bother to go to the polls and vote for the candidate based on his or her qualifications. and we're experiencing -- unfortunate experience with our representative from our area which is actually been denied
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caucus with the republicans. he's a republican and his misuse of campaign funds. he went with the idea that he was going to disrupt the government and tear it apart. constitutional conservative. and as a result, we have -- republican, we have to vote for him. that's really what's wrong with our country. right now people aren't voting based on the abilities of the candidates. i could care less what their affiliation is. do they actually have a plan? do they actually -- are they going to do whath they say they're going to do? that's the most important thing. they should do away with the straight ticket voting and that's my comment on it. i'd like to hear what you think. >> an excellent point.
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all the c-span viewers make excellent points. as i said, most voters vote simply on party identification up and down the line. the lower down you get in the electorate, the less that holds true. so for a member of congress, a member of the house, there is much more party switching than there is for presidential general election. but it's still largely polarized. and the other thing he raises that is interesting is how do we increasingly group together? democrats fl s live in places w there are mostly other republic democrats. republicans live where there are mostly republicans. there's obviously some intermixing. but increasingly, they are kind of glomming together. why is that? that's a social question as much as political. >> question on twitter from wild and wonderful. isn't it true a significant
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percent of voters don't decide until they get to the polls? it becomes the impulse of the moment. >> depends what you think is significant. i'm talking about large percentages here. america is so closely balanced that any small change can indeed throw an election. it isn't like all these things i'm down playing are unimportant, the quality of the candidate does matter. but so there's a small percentage of people that do justi just make up their mind. it can be important if you live in florida or ohio. the fact of the matter is those people are generally low information voters who haven't paid a lot of attention to begin with. >> to montana. bob on our independents line. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i actually think your guest is really spot on on his evaluation
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of the one-third and one-thu hf and one-third. i like what i'm hearing. i look at myself as an independent. and the reason i do is i've actually never voted for a democrat in the presidential election. however, i very, very often vote for democrats in my local and state elections. and the reason is because i believe in the social issues and i see the problems of the cities and the counties around me, and i like to see them be able to have the money that gets dispersed from the federal government and initiated by the states. i have looked at this presidential election and quite honestly, i've given a lot of looks throughout the years. i'm 65 now. i've been through quite a few elections. i've given a lot of looks at the democrats. just never saw where they were exceptional to me as far as
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allowing the states. and i see that as a personal freedom in the choice of the people in the cities and in the counties to make the choices of what we needed. as your guest just said, we do associate in groups. i was -- montana now is a very diverse state actually. i grew up in missoula, which is very solidly democrat, and now i live in roundup, montana, which is quite decisively in the eastern side of the state just north of billings is quite republican. and i still vote democrat in my local elections because of the -- what i just mentioned to you. i'd like to have your opinion on my assessment. thank you. >> thank you, bob. >> that's very interesting. i think he's a good example of
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exactly what i'm writing about. he is an independent. but he's also not a closet partisan. that makes it seem perhaps different than it really is. but he does lean partisan in the presidential election. that's what a lot of independents do. but further down the ticket where there's more information about the local personality and local issues. he makes a different kind of decision. i wouldn't say a more considered decision but a decision based on a different kind of information that's easier to get for people lower down in the political chain. >> karen tweets, i agree most independents are really one side or the other and rarely vote the other party. peg says her view is media focus far too much on polls and neglect enough discussion on the issues. back to calls and carline in
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orrville. >> caller: hello. >> good morning. you're on the air. >> caller: great. listen, i am a registered republican, but i consider myself independent. i voted for republicans and democrats. i usually vote for the person, not the party, but i have never, ever, i'm older. i'm 76. i have never, ever not voted for -- in a primary or an election. here in california, we don't really have that much choice because by the time the election gets to us, it's already almost been decided. but as soon as my grandchildren are of age, i take them down and register them to vote. i let them decide what they're going to be. of course, i kind of push them toward the republican party, but i really watch who it is. i watch everything about them. and i like carly. i like dr. ben carson and i like ted cruz.
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but the way the media features ted cruz, they sort of ignore him. he's the only one that went to congress and voted for what we asked him to do. we work for all these years to get someone in that is conservative and then they don't vote the way we ask them to, the way they say they're going to do it. i'm so disappointed to see our country falling apart. it breaks my heart. >> thank you for joining us. any thoughts? >> good for her for all that voting. more americans should hear about that story because, of course, we're only talking about the people who do vote. and many americans in some elections, most americans don't vote. so our politicians are chosen sometimes by just a plurality of the voters as opposed to a majority. you can't complain about your representation if you don't get ot and go to the polls.
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>> do we know typically what the percentage of eligible voters is? >> i was afraid you were going to ask me that the second i said that. turnout in america, i believe, runs around fu50% to 60% but th is one i'm blue skying. i could well be wrong. it's much smaller than you think it is. >> a headline in huffington post about a comment from john kasich. he said he's fine with a reasonable minimum wage hike. you have to be reali isistreali. obviously a big republican field. in terms of how voters decide, what did your reporting find on what difference media coverage makes of that candidate? >> i'm glad you asked that question because, remember, i was mostly focusing on the general election. primaries can be a different story altogether. the nature of the candidate
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matters a lot in the primary election. and voters do switch their idea about how to vote for in a primary election back and forth. and that's because they often don't know a lot about those politicians when they begin. john kasich has very low knowledgeability ratings. lots of people say they don't know enough about him one way or another. as they learn more about the candidates, they often rise in the polls. >> how do voters really decide is the cover piece. spotlight on magazine's piece. peter grier is the author of the piece. "christian science monitor." your calls are welcome. 202-748-8001 for republicans. and independents, 202-748-8002. let's go to our independent line to milwaukee and chris. good morning. >> caller: good morning.
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i plan on voting -- i'm 73. i plan on voting for whoever is going to keep social security and medicare intact. right now we are not discussing it at all except it comes up here and there on the news. very few and far between. as far as i know, huckabee and sanders are the only two who want to keep it the way it is. i am truly independent. i vote both sides, and i just -- i know the changes that they're talking about will not affect me because of my age, but all of my children are under 55. i have four of them. and it's for them that i would like to protect it because social security and medicare are very important. my husband has had a stroke. i am not well. if we had not had medicare, we would probably be bankrupt.
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so the people who are younger better think about it when they go vote. that's my comment. >> thank you, chris. >> it's interesting. she said she votes for candidates of both parties, yet she's very interested in medicare, which is -- and protecting social security, which is a big issue. remember, that's not just a democratic issue. there are republicans who want to protect medicare and social security, yet they also want to slow down the rate of immigration into the united states. you see that with donald trump. he gets people who have positions that are maybe not what you would have thought of as being completely partisanly coherent in the past. >> next up is bakersfield, california. betty on our democrats line. >> yes, good morning. i am concerned about what i hear
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about the politician and medicare. i think that -- i listen -- i think about love and compassion that we have for one another. i watch something go wrong, like the tornadoes and hurricanes and people run and help each other and they participate and are willing to -- i listen to all of this about immigration and people are trying to live and survive. they have families. and that's what it's all about, trying to survive. and people who do not have jobs.
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it's the job thing. and everyone needs a chance at living. that should be jobs. that should be -- people should be concerned about every one trying to survive. and everybody is not fortunate to have wealth and fame and wealth and fortune. people need to live to survive. that's what -- people are supposed to care. republican, democrat, care for one another. it's about love. and have love for one another. seeing people survive. children coming up needing things. that's why crime is so high. especially african-american people. the jobs are very limited for them. they can't get a job, and they try to do the best they can. they go out and commit crime because they cannot have things that they need. >> want to see if peter grier
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has a response. >> one of the primary fundamentals that political scientists think determines an election is the state of the economy. she said whether people feel they can get jobs and support their families. as the economy is getting better, prior to the election, it really helps the incumbent party. that's as important as who the candidate is in the general election. >> she was looking to the appeal of a candidate tounderstand. she mentioned several problems. the economy. jobs. and you write in your study about favorability polls and their impact on the end result on how people vote in your "christian science monitor" piece, do voters develop a favorable view of candidates and then decide to vote for them, or is it the other way? maybe they decide to back candidates because of party
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affinity or party. maybe we'll do brunch after this election thing is over. how much does this weigh in the end of somebody's decision? >> i would still stand by the fact i believe that's chicken and egg. i'm not sure a favorability rating on a candidate is a huge indicator. look at that with donald trump. his favorability ratings were awful and more people decided to vote for him than said they had a favorable view. and his favorable ratings are up. they decided to vote for hum ed. >> crystal lake, illinois, on the independents line. hi, vic. >> caller: how are you doing? can you hear me? >> uh-huh. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. give me a couple of minutes. i'm going to talk about the fabric of america and how it's been torn. i'm 73.
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when i was drafted, i was drafted with rich kids, drafted with poor people, drafted with whites, blacks, hispanics. we all had each other's backs. that's been gone since they wiped out the draft. and the politicians today don't listen to their constituents. they are after that special interest, they are after that money to be re-elected. and a good example of that is the keystone pipeline. they won't tell the general public that the keystone pipeline is a 1,500,000 acres owned by the koch brothers. dirty oil shipped through nebraska. and another one is -- i'm getting like governor perry. i can't remember the other one.
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i'm a little nervous. >> it's okay. >> caller: medicare. the medicare. the drug companies are allowed to negotiate with everybody on the planet except medicare. and they rip off medicare. eventually go broke because of the drug -- the only guy that's impressed me so far this year has been trump. he comes out. you may call him bellig rant but at least he tells the truth. he doesn't want any of their money. i wish morpeople -- it's a shape because the people in d.c. and around the d.c. belt, they just care about money. they don't care about the nation or anybody. >> thanks, vic. >> donald trump's appeal. emotional, not policy or partisan. and i think that's -- that call
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is a good example of that. >> maureen dowd writing about the appeal of the trump campaign. dynasties hit trump bump. she's writing about the competition between donald trump and jeb bush. it's deeply weird, she writes that the billionaire reality star seems authentic to many americans. he's a manifestation of national disgust with money that consume politics with the dysfunctional artificial status quo with the return to a bush/clinton race. the less adept bush and clinton. the prospect of hillary and jeb as the nominees created a huge opening for this. the american public looked at it and said, i don't want that. dowd said everybody should stop being in denial and accept that trump could be the nominee. back to calls in cedar creek, nebraska. jim, good morning, on our republican line. >> caller: good morning.
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the main thing about -- i'm calling about is this deal with voter i.d. they say there's no evidence of fraud. the only way you can check to see if there's any fraud going on is to check check the people. i mean, you got all these people who are dead, who are voting. people are voting all over the county. you could check the person's name and go to the place where he polls and he can vote or he can sit there and do all kind of absentee veoting and stuff. i remember the 2008 election, how there was all this skirmish if states wanted to clean voter registration poll, and eric holder was yelling about it. no, it must have been 2010. eric holder was yelling, no, no, we can't do that. we also have hispanics here
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illegally. what they do when their child is born here in the united states, they take their social security and make it their own. so it looks like they're american citizens themselves. i don't know. we really need to clean things up. c-span, please, i love you guys but you seem to be steering more and more to the left. as an example, yesterday when i turned on the tv and i turned on c-span, it had obama. i can't stand his voice. so, i switch to c-span2. the same speech is obama playing on c-span1 and c-span2 at the same time. you guys go way, way back in time to criticize republicans. yet i'll see on the news they're having a hearing on irs or something, i watch and i think,
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c-span, let's see it. i think you'll wait until the weekend to do it. but you never do it. you never have hearings against the democrats or this administration. >> i appreciate your feedback. yesterday you could have seen a portion of the president's speech from the day before. and on the irs hearings, we have covered a number of those hearings with the head of the irs. we appreciate your feedback. let's hear from tampa, florida, next to the independents line. we go to robert. robert in tampa, go ahead. >> caller: yeah, i'm very interested in the candidate that's going to protect social security and medicare for the people in their early 60s and so on. one thing i like about donald trump, he's all for protecting medicare and social security for the elderly. that's my main comment. >> our wall street journal poll -- not a favorability poll but how people view the nation.
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not on candidate, but how they view the nation just came out this past monday in terms of how satisfied are you with the nation today. very satisfied was just 2%, somewhat satisfied 26%. but either somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a total of 71% of the people surveyed by "the wall street journal." typically, in your reporting, when people go to the polls, how do they feel about the country? >> typically, if they're dissatisfied, they throw out the incumbent party, the president. so that's not good news for whoever the democratic nominee would be. as we get closer to the election, we'll have to see how that number plays out. but, no, that's not good news for democrats. >> the poll by quinnipiac university released by "the wall street journal" earlier this week. let's go to democrats line, patricia.
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hi there. >> caller: hi. i look at what they've done in their background, what their history is, how they've voted on different things. sim interested in getting moderates back in so they can get something done. i plan on voting for jim webb. i think he's got a tremendous background in everything. he's well-rounded. i don't think he'll take us into a war unless he absolutely has to. and he will protect medicare and social security. he is a moderate. there are some things i don't agree with him on, but there's a lot of things that i do. he doesn't get any air time i follow him on facebook. i've been aware of him for years, even when he was secretary of the navy. he was a republican, like i was. he turned democrat, like i did. but he is a sisterist and i think that's what we need. and so i'll write him in if he's not in the primaries.
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that's all i had to say. thank you very much. >> i've covered jim webb since he was in the secretary of the navy as well. he's a very impressive speaker. you know, i think a debate between him and hillary clinton and bernie sanders will be much more interesting than people, perhaps, realize. at this point he's only running a semi campaign. he doesn't have the money to do much. >> how important is it for a candidate to create a passion and a ground swell for themselves, buzz and excitement, leading up to election day. >> that's a good question. i would say for the national candidate in the general election, it's less important than you think. >> why? >> because, again, as i said, the election really turns much more on longer term fundamental issues that were settled prior to the run-up to the end of the campaign. that said, it doesn't mean that that kind of thing is completely
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unimportant because we're such a narrowly balanced country that even a few percentage points in one state or another can make a difference. >> c-span, a lot of other networks, spend a lot of time covering the political conventions next july. how much difference do they make to voters on november, first tuesday in november next year? >> the conventions are one of the few turning points in the came pain that i think even political scientists would agree are important. because they're basically huge infomercials. the parties get lots of coverage for their candidates. it's one of the few things that can move polls. >> a couple more calls here. warwick, massachusetts. patricia on our independent's line. >> caller: i just wanted to make the point that whoever you vote for for president is really secondary to who you send to
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congress because congress can undermine the president, can support the president, and the best president in the world, which i think we have with obama, can't accomplish everything we need to have accomplished with a congress that behaves as though he were never elected. thank you. >> okay. we go to jocelyn in new york city. democrat's line. >> caller: the reason i'm a democrat, i'm going to vote republican because lately the democrat are doing a good job for the people that work. like the one -- who give a break or nothing like that.
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it's for the poor, poor, people. it's not as strong as they used to be. i used to be proud to be a new yorker. proud to be in new york. every president come on, they just help there. all the countries are here. the streets are broken. there's a lot of things to be fixed. they're not helping the city. >> jocelyn, which one of the republican candidates are you interested in and considering voting for? you're calling on our democrats' line. >> right now, i don't like the one they have. i don't like hillary clinton. i think too weak to run for president. the other one, don't like the way they are. i like donald trump. i think he could bring the jobs back. but there are used to having -- nobody do nothing about this. you know, what happened to they
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go -- you get information. we don't do nothing to them back. >> any response to potential decision to switch parties. >> it's interesting. she's obviously disillusioned. disillusionment with the current administration plays a lot in people's choices. we've had a democrat for two terms in a row that tends to indicate that you get a little advantage for the republican just because people want a change. >> you gave us in your reporting in the piece in christian science monitor something to look for to how people might vote next year. you write about the state of the nation. the change in the u.s. gross domestic product from january to june of 2016, fitz going up it will be good for the democratic candidate. almost certainly hillary clinton. if not, the gop stander bearer will benefit. >> that's true. again, that's what political scientists believe. if the candidates' campaigns can call attention to the economy,
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that can help them if the economy's doing well and it's a democrat, or poorly if you're a republican. really, that is the main driver of the american presidential election. >> peter grier, senior writer for "christian science monitor" has our spotlight piece, "how do voters really decide" and you can read more online at thanks for being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> that will wrap it up for this morning's "washington journal." thanks for being with us and we hope you're back with us tomorrow morning, 7:00 a.m. eastern. until then, have a great day. secretary of state john kerry laid out his case for congress to approve the iran nuclear deal during a speech earlier today in philadelphia. you can see that tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. here's some of what he had to say.


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